I’ve never stolen anything in my life.
As a kid, the likely reprisals from either parent, would have been more daunting than facing a multi-tattooed, hooded torturer in the Tower.
Temptation was certainly there. The pick ‘n’ mix counter in Balham Woolworth’s was so near the front of the shop, it might as well have been on the High Road pavement!
But, when I walked past, the Kola Cubes, Pineapple Chunks and Jelly Snakes remained intact. I like to think they stayed this way and almost gathered dust – but this was Balham in the ‘60s.
My not stealing anything was quite the opposite to my dad; he stole ashtrays – from pubs, restaurants, stately homes. He was a heavy smoker and there was the need (he would say in his defence) for an ashtray in every room – it was like the flat was sponsored: Watney’s Lounge; Playboy Club Kitchen and Chartwell Small Toilet.
But the bug never caught on with me. I’d watched Papillon and the thought of spending my days on an island off the coast of French Guiana, kept me from straying.
I also believe, had I have started a career of petty crime, I’d have panicked and gone into the wrong shop. Instead of swiping a load of Fruit Salads from Balham Woolworth’s, I’d be down the road in Boot’s – filling my pockets with lipstick – and none of them my colour.